The House of Augustus- Part VII- Ancient Roman Sites in Rome

For all the power that Octavian wielded over the course of his long life, he was a man who believed in maintaining a very modest public profile. Unlike some of his descendants and successors who believed in a lavish and sumptuous existence and built large palaces on the palatine (thereby the term palatial), Augustus insisted on maintaining a small household with minimal fuss. This was the most powerful man in the empire- he had a relatively small house in the most fashionable quartier in Ancient Rome.

One of the best kept secrets of the Palatine Hill in Rome is therefore the House of Augustus. We are not really sure that this really was the House of Augustus, but under the circumstances, the house that archaeologists excavated in this area fits the bill fairly well (as we have descriptions of the house and its location from ancient sources) and so the House of Augustus it is.

It is one of the few places in Rome where you can find remains of Ancient Roman wall painting.

The wall of this hall (oecus) for example has a first style (slab like) wall decoration that changes into second style (resembling the view from a balcony with columns) and then  a unique decoration decorating a curved cieling.

First Style Wall Painting becoming unique diamond shaped design on curved rood

The paintings in this room fall under the second style with their life like depictions of columns and other details and their perspective. Notice the two women walking towards the buildings. Admire the perspective- the Romans were big fans of vista and perspective.

Vista and Perspective

The paintings have been painfully reconstructed from thousands of fragments that were strewn about. But what stands before us are the evidence of art that existed over 2000 years ago!

Art from two millenia ago

To get to the House of Augustus, you would have to enter the Roman Forum (Via dei Fori Imperiali) pay the entrance fee and then make your way up the Palatine Hill. Entrance to the House of Augustus (closed often) is in small groups only. Be prepared to wait in line.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Nirmala says:

    Amazing the way they have restored! And that he had a comaparatively simple residence…….. Think of our politicians!!

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Exactly- not just here but everywhere- even the emperors who came after Augustus- Nero and Domitian come to mind!

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